In simple words, why are flaxseeds healthy? Because they’ve got many healthy components in them- Omega-3 fatty acids, alpha linolenic acid (ALA), phytochemicals, lignans, antioxidants, soluble and insoluble fibers other than many important vitamins and minerals. They also contain a very small amount of cyanide compounds just as cashews and certain beans. However, human body has the ability to neutralize a certain amount of such compounds. Many research studies have established that about two tablespoons of flaxseeds is safe as far as daily intake of flaxseeds is concerned.
What Diseases Can Flaxseeds Fight?
Inflammation leads to many diseases such as heart disease, arthritis, asthma, diabetes, certain cancers and not to forget body pains. Omega-3 fatty acids present in flaxseeds can very effectively fight against inflammation in human bodies leading to protection from these diseases.
The high fiber flaxseed diet is one of the very good home remedies for diabetes, it helps in stabilizing blood sugar. Lignans in flaxseeds can also help in preventing Type 2 diabetes.
Female Hormonal Imbalance
The phytochemicals, antioxidants an lignans in flaxseeds tend to balance hormones in women relieving them from peri-menopausal symptoms and hot flashes. They can in fact, possibly prevent breast cancer too but this has yet not been established by any research.
Some of the recent studies suggest that flaxseeds may protect against breast, prostate and colon cancer. ALA in flaxseeds have been seen to inhibit tumor growth in animals.
Researches also suggest that Omega-3 in flaxseeds having anti-inflammatory properties can be helpful in normalizing heartbeat and lowering blood pressure. Omega-3 also prevents arteries from getting hardened.
Omega-3 ALA, fiber, and lignans in flaxseeds work together to reduce cholesterol. which in turn protect us from heart diseases, obesity, diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
How to Consume Flaxseeds?
There are different forms of flaxseeds available for dietary consumption like flaxmeal, flaxseed oil and the whole flaxseeds that come in brown and golden variety. Brown or golden flaxseeds are almost similar without any important difference between them. If you consume whole flaxseed, there is every possibility that it will pass out without giving any benefit to your body. Powdered flaxseeds is the best option to have because flaxseed oil too does not contain all the components, most importantly fiber.
Flaxmeal is nothing but ground flaxseeds sold in ‘ready-to-eat’ mode. However, it is recommended to freshly ground the flaxseeds at home in a coffee grinder or blender before consuming. This is so because flaxmeal does not have longer shelf-life and has to be stored properly away from heat and light to protect its properties. Flaxseed oil too needs refrigeration otherwise it goes rancid. On the other hand, whole flaxseeds don’t get spoiled for at least a year.
How to Include Flaxseeds in Daily Diet?
Have one to two tablespoons of ground flaxseeds mixed in any food of your choice during the day. As flaxseeds almost do not add any taste, they can be combined with anything- your cereal breakfast, yoghurt, shakes, smoothies, salad dressings, oatmeal, drinks like juices etc. You can even use ground flaxseeds mixed with flour while baking cakes, cookies, breads etc. or while making meatballs, casseroles or any other dish where you think flaxseeds can just blend in.
What Precautions to Take for Flaxseeds Diet?
As flax has a high fiber content, start with a small amount initially if you are not used to high-fiber diet and increase it slowly otherwise you may suffer from constipation. To fight against constipation resulting from consumption of flaxseeds, drink plenty of water.
If you prefer to have flax meal and any time feel that it is even a little bitter, throw the thing away. If at all your flax meal has a taste, it should be mildly nutty and never harsh.
If you are an expecting or breast feeding mother, it’s better to avoid flaxseeds diet or consult your physician before consuming any form of flaxseeds.